Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pride & Prejudice, Zombies, Doppelgangers, Morbid Jewelry

Señorita Skeleton
These adorable earrings by Lyda82 [$13.95] I find sweetly morbid and weirdly charming which are qualities I find pretty fabulous. The style of the demure cameo with the profile of a skeleton also reminds me of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies's cover art.  I have never read the book and would very possibly hate it, but I love the idea of it.  One of those things that is perhaps better in your imagination than in the realization...like cheesecake or parades.  Jane Austen and zombie movies are two things over which many girlfriends and I have bonded.  P & P & Z may possibly incite rage over Austen abuse if I were to actually read it since Pride and Prejudice is a part of sacred girlhood memory because I first read it around age 12 or so and reread it about ten more times. It is stored up there in the vault with the entire Anne of Green Gables series. I know I speak for a surprisingly large number of women my age when I say, do not mess with Austen. That message is mostly at you, Kiera Knightly. I thought you were actually kind of good in those random bits of Doctor Zhivago I watched that one weekend I was surfing around PBS whilst  ill with something or other, and you were entertaining and pretty in the first Pirates of the Caribbean until Disney made you the skinny, pointy Amazon queen of the pirate horde who suddenly and unaccountably could swashbuckle competitively with 18th century CAREER soldiers and bloodthirsty BRIGANDS, seemingly for the sole purpose of emasculating your already girly boyfriend.  So it’s not like period pieces don’t work for you, but, my gosh, your gaunt, hungry cheekbones and peevishly gaping mouthful of too many teeth did not work as Elizabeth Bennett. My apologies to K.K., that was probably meaner than necessary but, at the same time I feel like she deserves it. Pride and Prejudice was already done fabulously well by A&E and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  By the way, during my internet jaunt for this post, I see that a movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is slated for 2011 starring Natalie Portman which gives me pause that maybe I do want to read it.  If Natalie Portman is in a movie, I am much more tempted to watch it, because I think I am a little enamored of her.  This is partly because I suspect she is a mythical creature, like maybe an elf or a nymph, since she is timelessly elegant and evidently does not age at all. She was in movies like Heat a hundred years ago, and still looks like she’s only 21. Natalie Portman lends an air of refined legitimacy and Art With a Capital-A to her films.  Which is funny since K.K. is Natalie Portman’s doppelgänger and she has the exact opposite affect on me.  Natalie Portman makes me think that a film project is perhaps more elegant and intelligent than I at first thought, and K.K. in a cast makes me think the movie will be dippier and more clichéd, which I guess fulfills the role of doppelgänger pretty accurately. Huh, it would be weird if K.K.Dg.’s attempt at a legit version of P & P bombed and Natalie’s version of P & P & Z portraying the same beloved character as a Zombie Warrior Princess turns out to be great.  I may have to read the book, and watch the movie.  Whilst wearing these earrings.  

 P.S. In spite of the fact that the subtitle of P & P & Z includes the word Ultraviolent (Clockwork Orange reference alert!) a few poignant reviews deflated my enthusiastism to read it.  [Apparently, zombie-killer Elizabeth Bennett is into moral relativism regarding the slaughter of a few innocents to save The Masses and kinda into kinky but self-loathing masochism which is obviously an unforgivable affront to the paragon of wit, grace, and wisdom in the original.  I will probably still see the movie though.  Whilst wearing these earrings.  Said earrings probably fulfilling my blend of Austen and zombies much better than the story.]

Monday, September 27, 2010


The parental unit is currently visiting and since I am no longer a teenager (thank you for the merciful progression of chronology, Father Time!) and therefore no longer trying to establish myself as an independent person! Gosh!  I am enjoying their company immensely and do not have much time to blog.

In my guilt at being unable to juggle both a family visit and the blog, I decided to give up a super secret beauty regimen I recently learned. It's crazy, so brace yourself: Hot Water.  I know.  After years of laziness and misguided attempts at frugality, I realized my face was probably worth some time and money to prettify, but I hit many a roadblock.  With unbelievably sensitive and easily aggravated skin (thanks for the genes, Mom and Dad! Gosh!...I'm kidding, I love you.), I wish I had thought of turning my self-experimentation into a fiscal profit which would have made that horrible reaction just before my wedding slightly less annoying.  My skin and especially my face is the canary in the coal mine for harsh ingredients.  I've tried all sorts of expensive products and many varieties of benign but essentially useless "organic" whatzits.  My linen closet looks like a pharmacy's graveyard.  Anyway, I do not know why water was not an option sooner, but here we are.
Steam your face for ten full minutes once a week.  I just use a pot of boiling water with a towel thrown over to keep the steam in.  Immediately after that apply a face mask (like Origins Clear Improvements Charcoal Mask - I'd go into the details of why charcoal is awesome for pulling impurities from your skin, but it's late and I'm tired, so maybe later).  The effect is immediate, and it gets better every week.  The first morning I tried it, my skin looked so clear and bright Sean asked me right away if I had done anything different and if I was already dolled up for the day, (any girl who has the compulsion to "put on her face" every morning knows how great that is to hear) and which I found so flattering I think I twirled my hair and batted my eyes a bit.        
So you're welcome.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ralph Lauren and Alex Burgess

Many things in this mad world puzzle me.  Why do Dallas drivers drive with all the fury of competitors on the Indy 500 coupled with the lack of caution seen in bumper car drivers, yet these same linger at traffic lights well after they turn green as though they want to make sure no one else would like to go first?  Why do Clevelanders up-sell every last attribute of their Great Lakes mini-metropolis (of which there are many) at the slightest encouragement as though they were paid travel agents, and at what age does this upselling start?  Why does the city of Detroit, even in her murkiest twilight years, happen to produce such a high number of noteworthy musicians?  Why do Austrian women speak in a lilting accent, but Austrian men don't especially?  All these are intriguing questions.  The greatest puzzlement I experienced in the last month struck while I was looking through Ralph Lauren's Collection.  Remember when I wrote that I loved lit-inspired design?  Allow me to be specific here: I do not love design based on Alex and his Droogs from A Clockwork Orange.  


There are people (many found on DeviantArt) who do indeed enjoy this type of dress-up, which fact I became acutely aware of at a midnight screening of A Clockwork Orange.  This pertrubed me perhaps more than was reasonable, mainly because a large, rowdy mob of people who gleefully dress-up as a psychopathic, sadistic killer and torturer of women makes me a bit vexatious as my assumption is they either idolize said character - in which case, run for the nearest fire exit - or, they have grossly misinterpreted the theme which makes me want to talk to them about subversive tactics of modern authors such as Burgess to present a morally traditional theme (namely, not only ought you avoid torturing and killing people, you should also avoid trying to surgically remove free will), which speech in given situation might make a perfectly normal person want to torture me.  Oh, the crazy weekend adventures of literature majors who-pay-more-attention-to-the-actual-book's-plot-than-the-subsequent-cult-following-of-the-film-based-on-the-American-edition-with-the-final-chapter-edited-out venturing into society.

Anyway, getting back to the point: I get an underground sub-culture playing Droog dress up, but why you, Ralph, why you?  An all white men's clothes ensemble plus white suspender plus a black bowler hat?  Is it just that Ralph thought that was a neat look, completely independent of the cult icon?  Are my eyes deceiving me due to my culture-clash flashback?  Despite this Droog drama going on in my head and the fact that there are several varitions of this theme in the collection, there were at least a couple of pieces I really like.  

Plus the models did not look like last week's lab cadavers warmed over which was nice.
P.S. Whilst browsing through Google images to research my Clockwork Orange conspiracy theory, I found this piece which I thought was kind of awesome:

[Editor's Note - In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that upon further meditation prodded on by the readers interesting comments, I have found that the costume lover in me  has won out: I actually can dig Clockwork Orange inspired costumery as illustrated by Kristy Elena, author of the very entertaining blog Vogue Gone Rogue.

P.S.  I also feel the need to clarify that I am not recommending A Clockwork Orange.  Though elegantly made, it's a rough movie and most people would probably just be nauseated by it.  I am enamored with Kubrick's design and execution -- if you want to discuss the film, you should just contact me.  Yeah.      

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New York Fashion Week 2010: Marc Jacobs

Fashion, as such, I find a little exhausting.  Being a thrift store and sales bins sort of girl, the idea of running on the heels of fashion makes me want to clutch at my purse, like people advise you do on public transportation in foreign countries.  I like clothes and design, of course, but Fashion is an entirely different animal and I have not visited that cage at the zoo very often.  This year, inspired by my friend Maggie, I thought I would have a bit of last week's New York Fashion Week:

Marc Jacobs    

The colors are dramatic and warm with vintage-y patterns, and I really hope the big, bold floor-lengthiness of some of the pieces gets to the trickle-down.  I am not ready to say goodbye to long dresses, and it would be nice to have something other than the casual maxi-dress.  I even like the satin in this last dress against all odds, although it looks the hem was accidentally stitched to the shoulder flower.  There is a lot of prettiness here. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Autumn Throw-Ons


One of many, many reasons I enjoy the Autumn season is the ability to sharpen style by haphazardly piling on more articles of clothing, as long as you had the foresight to stock up on snazzy autumnal accessories that look like they vaguely match each other.  In the sweltering and unforgiving summer, you have to be so relentlessly put together since style's competing goal is minimalism of the fabrics and frankly, heat makes me cranky which makes me not style conscious.  So, welcome, dear forgiving Autumn.  You have been missed.


Follow my blog with bloglovin      

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hats: Brava

Right after my meditation on Hats: Weird, I came across a great collection by a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Azzouzi.  Her design speciality is millinery (how awesome is that?  I see an eccentric, but very elegant millinery shop in some place caught in a wrinkle in time like Edinburg in the future) and her collection is called Zzouzi Hats which in my opinion are very much a Hats: Brava.

These hats make me very happy and optimistic for the millinery-based stylings of the fashion world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hats: Weird

Hats are a clothing article that I really want to like.  And by hats I mean things that you would not don for the sole purpose of protecting your tender scalp from the scorching heat of the Texas sun or the bitterness of a Midwestern winter.  Hats just as an accessory usually seem superfluous to me, which is a terrible shame really.  When I do see someone successfully pulling off a hat, I think brava (or bravo, which is a bit less likely).  Unfortunately, my perusal of Modcloth today did not help my conditioned prejudice:

I looked at this cute little hat and the only thing I could think of was George Costanza's rat hat.
OK, I could not find a picture of the rat hat (stills of Seinfeld episode are really hard to find online) so this is the original $4000 Russian sable hat, but you get the idea.  The former hat is ruined for me unless I see you in a place like Ekaterinburg in Spring, Winter, or Autumn.

Then there is this one.

Hats in the Belfry
This hat is hand wash only, apparently.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Limerick

There once was a Lady named Gaga,
Well-known for her shocking bravada.
At this year's VMAs,
She did crave Dijonnaise
Her dress was of pure Sopressata.

This is what the VMAs have reduced me to.  Curse you, Gaga!  In my next blog post: The Return to Pretty: Our Only Hope. 

Not About Lady Gaga

In the effort to get back to blogging after a fortnight of ennui, I was preparing a post on Lady Gaga at the MTV VMAs (you can tell that is the fruit of the laziest research ever, since her meat dress is Everywhere Marinated in Over-exposure).  Fortunately, I realized my foolishness in time.  I searched the rest of the VMAs for Pretty inspiration - before realizing that there is almost never anything pretty at the VMAs (with the exception of Sofia Vergara).

So before moving on, three things:
1)  I found Lady Gaga's matambre meat dress stunt funny but only in the aftermath, because this is the first and probably only time ever PETA and I will agree.  But on the, "Ew" factor, not the "So let us take this opportunity to place whatever animal we are talking about upon its rightful alter of worship and sacrifice human babies in Thanks- oh, are we not saying that out loud yet?  Nothing!"
2)  It's symbolic: "And I am not just a piece of meat."  Seriously, yo.
3)  Since I had seen the Japanese Vogue cover with her even ickier meat bikini, when I saw the award's photos I was all, "Sheesh, Gaga, that is so last week.  Give me something new."  I do not think that I turned into a fashion snob after viewing one international fashion magazine cover; no indeed, I believe therein lies Lady Gaga's greatest weakness as a performer.  She is talented, her songs are catchy, I get the whole "she's like a living, breathing Andy Warhol exhibit!" fascination and, holy fishnets, Batman, she is committed to her image.  I was actually starting to warm up to her until this meat clothing debacle made her as exciting to me as last night's microwaved pizza.  As savvy as she is with the media there is one obvious element that seems to escape her completely: shock-based careers are a bad idea and the reason for this is: there is only so far to go with shock tactics before verging on the criminal.  With simple artistry or grace there is a liberality that expands interests on and on; it is effortless and sincere.  Shock-based anything is more like digging a hole in the ground, no matter how far and how deep you go you eventually have to stop digging...and then how are you going to get back? *   
P.S.  I do not think Lady Gaga is the Pied Piper leading today's youth into Hades, but I do think she is painting herself into a corner with her current strategy.       
P.P.S.  I did not put up any pictures!  OK, I was going to post a picture of the meat shoes, but really, does anyone even want to see a picture of raw meat touching both the floor and a person's shoes?  Seriously, gross.  Not on my blog.  So here instead, is Will.I.Am's Hair-Hat-Sculpture thingy which I found weirdly awesome in an early 90s way, like if Sonic the Hedgehog married a My Little Pony.

* Also and more importantly, it's tiresome.  For everyone.  The ability to be shocked wears out faster than cheap tire treads under a constant and vapid barrage.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tweed: Professor Hot

Now I know this picture is old, and I know, I know, Brangelina have been photographed so many times do they still have souls?!?! however, my feature of this photo has nothing whatever to do with the individuals in the picture and everything to do with the suit of the gentleman.
A 3 piece tweed-y suit with a knitted scarf?!?!  What about Fight Club?  I scoff at you, Tyler Durden, in favor of this gently-befuddled-about-what-decade-this-is-and-lost-in-the-library-because-he-got-locked-in-again-while-researching look.  And yes, in case you were wondering, my teacher-husband would look dashing in this ensemble.  I totally do have a type.  I am currently and forever searching for elbow be-patched (that's Tweed for be-dazzled) 3 piece suits of wool plaid.

P.S. Photo courtesy of the GoFugYourself Blog which I find incredibly entertaining.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

French Women Don't Get Fat: French Woman's Manifesto

Continuing with the French Paradox, Mireille Guiliano, the author of French Women Don't Get Fat (2004), details the little ways that the French maintain their lifestyle.  Parenthetically, I do not think that the lifestyle of true leisure and intuitive health are particularly French as I observed roughly the same to varying degrees in Italy, Austria, Scotland, Slovakia, and Ireland (not so much in Berlin - no idea what the rest of Germany is like).  It just seems like the French have consciously made it part of their cultural identity.  That being said, my knowledge of French culture is almost entirely secondary since I did not visit outside the Paris airport which is dreadful and lost all my checked baggage so more informed and less prejudiced people are welcome to weigh in.  Guiliano's website Frenchwomendontgetfat.com, includes a manifesto of particulars, which I appreciate since my un-subtlety prefers black and white directives since I currently have no idea how to relax and be leisurely.   

French Woman's Manifesto
French women eat three meals a day.

French women adore fashion.

French women are stubborn individuals and don't follow mass movements.

French women avoid anything that demands too much effort for too little pleasure.

French women balance their food, drink, and movement on a week-by-week basis.

French women care enormously about the presentation of food. It matters to them how you look at it.

French women choose their own indulgences and compensations. They understand that little things count, both additions and subtractions, and that as an adult everyone is the keeper of her own equilibrium.

French women do stray, but they always come back, believing there are only detours and no dead ends.

French women don't care for hard liquor.

French women don't diet.

French women don't eat "fat-free," "sugar-free," or anything artificially stripped of natural flavor. They go for the real thing in moderation.

French women don't get fat.

French women don't often weigh themselves, preferring to keep track with their hands, eyes, and clothes: "zipper syndrome."

French women don't snack all the time.

French women don’t watch much TV.

French women will dress to take out the garbage (you never know….)

French women drink water all day long.

French women eat and serve what's in season, for maximum flavor and value, and know availability does not equal quality.

French women eat for pleasure.
Amelie (2001)
French women eat with all five senses, allowing less to seem like more.

French women enjoy going to market.

French women do enjoy wine regularly, but with meals and only a glass (or maybe two).

French women eschew extreme temperatures in what they consume, and enjoy fruits and vegetables bursting with flavor at room temperature, at which they prefer their water, too.

French women get a kick from Champagne, as an aperitif or with food, and don't need a special occasion to open a bottle.

French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.

French women know one can go far with a great haircut, a bottle of Champagne and a divine perfume.

French women honor mealtime rituals and never eat standing up or on the run. Or in front of the TV.

French women love to sit at a café and do nothing but enjoy the moment.

French women love bread and would never consider a life without carbs.

French women love chocolate, especially the dark, slightly bitter, silky stuff with its nutty aroma.

French women know l'amour fait maigrir (love is slimming).

French women love to discover new flavors and are always experimenting with herbs, spices, and citrus juices to make a familiar dish seem new.

French women love to entertain at home.

French women love to laugh.

French women never let themselves be hungry.

French women never let themselves feel stuffed.

French women plan meals in advance and think in terms of menus (a list of little dishes) even at home.

French women eat smaller portions of more things. American women eat larger portions of fewer things.

French women take the stairs whenever possible.

French women think dining in is as sexy as dining out.

French women train their taste buds, and those of their young, from an early age.

French women eat more vegetables.

French women walk everywhere they can.